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7 Ways to Improve Your Social Content Strategy Today

Beyond Engagement: Why Brands Must Use Outcomes to Prove, and Improve, Social Success

You’re fresh out of ideas. It’s getting hard to differentiate one social campaign from another. You know a shift needs to happen, but you don’t know what that shift is. Here are seven options that you can implement today.

1. Use Instagram for More than Images

In this recent blog post, we broke down Sephora’s different post types and analyzed their performance. The post types which Sephora uses most often and which generate the most engagement for the brand were Makeup Tips, Product Information, and New Product Arrivals.


What do these three categories have in common? They relay fresh, brand-relevant information, in addition to being visually appealing.

What You Can Do: Run a segmented analysis like the one above for your own brand for the past month, to identify which content categories perform best for your brand. What do your top three segments have in common? Where can you double down, and where are you experiencing missed opportunities?

For example, Sephora’s average engagement per post was 56,303 in the Social Responsibility segment (higher than even its most engaging segment, Makeup Tips), but the brand only posted once in that segment during this time period. Could this strategy be worth doubling down on? These are the kind of learnings you should begin extracting for your own brand.

2. Go Beyond Brand

Samsung was the most engaging brand on Facebook and Twitter at this past summer’s Olympics. How did they do it? By showing how their service and products “can help to break down geographic barriers and unite the world through deep, borderless connections.”

Another brand that did this well even more recently was REI with their #PaulWalksOn multi-faceted digital campaign, which followed its community of hikers as they carried Paul’s boots along the Appalachian Trail.

REIWhat You Can Do: Use social and digital to go beyond your product and brand. Showcase the people who use your offerings to meet a bigger human need, or skip the product-focused content altogether and focus on what makes your brand what it is: the people who know it, love it, and are connected by something deeper. Whether you sell sneakers or software, there is potential for a major social and digital win here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 9.57.46 AMAs with any campaign, do your research first: understand the earned social conversation around your brand, and use this as the basis for understanding who your audience is and what they’ll respond to with most fervor.

3. Trivia and Questions

Did you know that 1 out of 3 Instagram users follows a sports team on the network? FC Barcelona and Real Madrid top the list of most popular sports teams on Instagram, boasting almost 40 million followers on that network alone.

FC Barca_Real Mad TotalFans-01Some common strategies that these teams use include:

  • Sharing part of a photo of a team member and asking followers to identify the player
  • Asking for preferences on things like team uniforms
  • Asking for birthday wishes for players

What You Can Do: Want to generate more engagement? More conversions? More conversations? Ask for it directly. Experiment with soliciting opinions and asking brand-relevant trivia questions over a contained time period. Then run an analysis to see which types of interactive content have worked best to generate ideas for future social content.

4. Play the Nostalgia Game

Instead of plugging sneakers in every post, Nike uses its social channels to highlight the emotionally powerful stories of the world’s greatest athletes. Just take a look at this recent Instagram post about Michael Jordan’s first world tour. If you are over 30, you’ll feel nostalgic. If you’re under 30, you’ll still feel inspired.

Shattering expectations. #AJXXXI

A post shared by nike (@nike) on

What You Can Do: Nike consistently adds substance that their audience both cares about and is moved by, using nostalgia specifically. Consider moving people with nostalgic content that will capture attention and encourage engagement and sharing. Start by researching the content your audience members are organically sharing, whether from brands or other members of their social circles.

5. Understand the Connection Between Content and Dollars

Historically, social media has been left out of most major marketing conversations, because these conversations focus on business value and revenue. But social attribution is the new, critical analysis on the block, and you should take notice.

What You Can Do: Having access to social attribution gives you so much more information about your performance, audience, and activity–and how each piece of specific social content impacts the bottom line. Request a demo here, and expect to see the ripple effect of social attribution spanning over multiple marketing teams in your organization: design, web, and content.

6. Build an Instagram Stories Campaign

Instagram Stories now have 100 million daily active viewers (this number will grow much, much bigger as Instagram Stories debut in Explore). Freshen up your Instagram presence by experimenting with this feature–especially if expanding brand awareness is a big goal for your brand on social. 
Instagram Stories

What You Can Do: First step: watch Instagram Stories from brands in your industry. What are they doing well? Which opportunities are they missing? Then, watch Instagram Stories from brands outside of your industry realm. Sometimes we get our most creative ideas by experiencing content totally unrelated to our “brand world.”

Put together a social plan for a month of Instagram Stories, including goals, expectations, and methodologies.

7. One Pillar Video, Many Different Formats

Harvard Med School generated 20 million video views in 4 days, largely through social. But, first, Harvard Med School devoted resources to creating one powerhouse video. Then they split it up in various ways and for various channels. On Facebook, they served the video up with captions to improve retention rates. They also published GIFs and condensed videos from the main video on Instagram and Twitter.

What You Can Do: Stop focusing on microcampaigns and individual pieces of content. You might have it backwards. Instead, devote time and resources to one major piece of video content, and split it into various formats to see what kind of results you can achieve.

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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